When there were images that a Jagex Mod said that Summoning was supposedly for F2P as well as P2P, many members started an uproar. Why should people who don’t pay deserve a new skill when they haven’t had one since runecrafting? If the quest for Summoning starts in Taverley, would Taverley become F2P as well? It should just be for those who pay the five bucks every month! However, when Summoning was released it became clear that it was only for P2P, and members got a breather from ranting. Nonetheless, this got me thinking, what if Jagex cut all free-to-play people from the game? Would members be ecstatic or would some parts of the game fall? What would happen to the economy? How in general would Runescape be affected, and could it be an upcoming idea?
*Note: I’m attempting to make this article as unbiased as possible, as I have been F2P my whole Runescape career.
If F2P were completely cut from the game, it would bring around a large change to the economy. The main thing that F2P brings is a place for P2P to sell nonmember items for a nice profit. Before the RWT trade changes, full rune armor was priced around 180k-200k in F2P, while from what I heard it was much cheaper if sold in a members world. This also goes for treasure trails such as Heraldic items, Rune Guthix/Saradomin/Zamorak, etc. Also, F2P is where a majority of the members get their raw materials, such as limpwurt roots, yew logs, and big bones. Those are three items that are a major source of profit for F2P selling to members for skill training. Without F2P, there might be a lack of sellers for those items and/or the price of them would rise as there’s usually a high demand for them.
A chunk of Runescape land is selected for nonmembers, but the Runescape world that members can roam in is exponentially larger. Typical F2P stereotypes are that they’re annoying, follow you around asking where you got your armor/do your skill cape emote, beg for “phr33 st00f”, are too young to be playing Runescape, and lack any intelligence whatsoever. Well then it’s a good thing for members that these apparently young, stupid, and irritating individuals are confined to a small portion of Runescape isn’t it? If F2P were removed, all those people P2P despise would be mixed in with them (although some members already fit the stereotypes of nonmembers anyway), and I’m pretty sure most older members wouldn’t enjoy that much.
Even though F2P doesn’t directly pay Jagex, they do indirectly by ad’s and pageviews. Although the money Jagex gets from those is a much smaller amount than members, it still is some revenue. I’m guessing about 1/3 or 1/4 of the Runescape population is F2P, and I’m also guessing that that would be around 100,000 (give or take some) people. Every time an ad shows up on a free to play world page, I’m estimating it gives Jagex about a 10-20 cent income. Multiply that by 100,000 and you get around a $10,000-$20,000 profit. Multiply that by 30 days and you get a $300,000 to $600,000 profit, not counting world switches. While it’s not a lot compared to profits from members, it still is several zeros that Jagex most likely wants to hold on to and if F2P were cut from the game, Jagex would lose that. Not to mention, having the free to play option helps bring in member subscriptions after people experience the game a bit and want more (I’m not too sure about advertising profits – I’ve only used Google Ad-sense, so take these numbers with a grain of salt).
So, while some members would love free-to-play to just be gone and over with, it does help to have them in the game and it does help Jagex a little bit, so they most likely won’t be budging for awhile. As for you complaining members out there, hey, you already have your own secluded worlds and skills and items, and the “public off” option is always good to use.